Brodgar's Diary - 22-08-06
The llamas at Old King Street Farm have just had a fantastic weekend. We crammed a lot in and have had a couple of very nice trips out. Let me tell you all about them.
On Saturday all the boys – Silbury, Ringsbury, Avebury, Stenness and I went to the village show at nearby Longtown. It’s a bit far to walk, so we decided to all travel in the trailer. When we arrived at the show we decided to stand in our penning so we could look at all the people. It’s very exciting for us seeing lots of new people, but much more interesting were all the horses and dogs at the show. We love to see our fellow four-legged animals. Dogs can be a bit iffy, and there were a couple of German shepherds who got a bit close, but when this happens, we all stand up together, act tall and point with our ears at the dogs. They usually leave pretty quickly.
In the picture of us (that’s me on the right in a most undignified pose), you can see us in our tall penning. We’re all very alert. The reason for this was that there was show jumping with people and horses taking part. We’ve never seen a horse do this before. The person actually sits on the horse who runs around a ring and jumps over poles. That’s different to the way we do it, because what we llamas do is run around with our people running alongside us. This is funny because the two legged person usually gets very tired with all the running and jumping. At the end of a ‘round’ we’re all fine, but the person pants away like anything.
We had a good chance to see lots of people. Everyone always wants to touch us – well we are big fluffy animals – but we like to keep a little bit of distance between us and the two-leggeds. See how we’re not standing right against the fence, but in the middle of the pen. There are a few interested young people in front of the pen who were very well behaved.
After a while we decided to take some people for a walk around the large ring at the show. Okay, it was raining – no problem for us – the water just matts on the surface of our fibre and doesn’t penetrate, but our people did get a bit wet. Now when it rains, people try to keep dry by standing under a stick with a piece of cloth stretched over it which they hold over their heads, and we’d never seen forests of these ‘umbrellas’ before. You can never tell which llama will handle a new situation in a particular way, and this time it was ol’ Ringsbury who studied these new sticks very closely.
Meanwhile our male person waffled on about llamas in South America, llamas as guard animals, llamas as field pets, and our general llama traits and characteristics, blah blah blah, which seeing as we already knew all that stuff passed over us like water off a llama’s back.
It’s really interesting for us when our people take the trouble to give us something new to do. On the Sunday we tried a local walk and had a look at the castle in Ewyas Harold. There’s a nice young woodland there which we’re hoping to be able to inspect more closely soon. What was new was that eight of us decided we would go for a llama trek together, and this was great. As well as the five of us boys, Callanish, Doll Tor and Maes Howe also came with us. They had a great time and enjoyed looking at all the new things on the route.
We had a group of eight people with us. They probably didn’t know the way, so we agreed that each llama should be paired with a person, so the person wouldn’t run off and get lost. The girls hadn’t been off the farm before and did brilliantly, and rather showed some of us up. There’s always a bit of competition over who is going to carry the day packs. Some of us want to and some of us don’t. Avebury (my older half brother) was walking down a steep slope and his light day-pack slipped forward, and he kushed, or lay down like a camel does. He decided that he’d had the pack for a mile and a half and it was someone else’s turn. Ringsbury didn’t much want the pack either, and pointed out to our people that he’d really rather it, if it wasn’t too much trouble, if they could carry it. However, ‘Golden Boy’ Stenness (my younger half brother, and a bit of a teacher’s pet if you ask me) carried a pack for the whole llama trek.
To round off Stenness’ status of most biddable llama, he then performed his party piece of going over the jumps with a person on the other end of his rope. He is rather good at it, I have to say, and he’s told me he’ll teach me how to jump without kicking the bar off. I’m rather looking forward to the llama races we can have.
Some llama mix and alfalfa to round off our llama trekking in Herefordshire and then a chance to mooch around the yard and look at all the new two-legged friends we’d made.
We’ll be in touch again soon.